In an article entitled, "A New Path for the Mission," Luciano Pereira da Silva, the Secretary-General of CIEMAL, the Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean, writes of the importance of "empowering indigenous leaders within the mission." He adds, "We desire and envision a relationship with agencies and missionaries abroad as follows: the relationship must be cultivated, but from a vision of interdependence, not dependency. The mission’s agenda should never be imposed by outsiders, but rather be contextualized and mutually shared.
In an article entitled, "The Mission Movement in the Post-Soviet Context," Eurasia Bishop Eduard Khegay of the UMC condemns missionaries, including short term missionaries, "who make little effort to learn the local language and understand our culture." He also advocates for the importance of building relationships in mission, saying:
"It is much harder to invest in building relationships and patiently wait when local leaders would have their own dreams and strategic plans. But isn’t genuine discipleship about building relationships? Westerners feel that we go to extremes and drink too much tea and don’t reach the goals. And they are right. We do talk a lot. We need to work more. But going to another extreme – reaching your goals and missing building relationships – can damage our mission as well."
There is certainly a lot of division within Methodism currently. But this division must not let us lose sight of an important fact about mission theology: There is a remarkable degree of agreement about what good mission looks like, and that agreement holds across cultures and other theological issues.
Local leadership, avoiding dependency, contextualization, mutuality, cross-cultural learning, and relationship building aren't Progressive or Traditionalist takes on mission theology. They aren't US American or developing world takes on mission theology. They're just good missiology.